Tokyo Cafe Report: F Iwamori

Today, it's the era of number. The number of your twitter followers, the number of nice! you get for a pic you post on Instagram... the more, the better basically, (for most people)

This rule can be applicable to Japanese cafe market, too. Starbucks has finally penetrated into all the 47 prefectures of this nation, The Coffee Beans & Tea Leaf, which is still two years old here, has actively increased its locations nationwide while Japanese cafe chain Doutor, has remained competitive with their reasonableness.

Personally, however, it's too many & too much. I'm totally fed up with seeing Starbucks at every station & every commercial building. This feeling has driven me to a smaller & privately-owned cafe, like F Iwamori, which I found in Ogikubo, Tokyo.

Yes, this facade looks a bit old, but I regarded as a proof of its longevity. In order to survive for years on a typical shopping street in Japan, continuous support from the local people is essential.  

Stepping in a shop, one madam welcomed me with a moderate smile, not big one (which made me feel I might have come to a wrong place...) However, when I was waiting for rare cheesecake & iced tea I ordered, I found her passion everywhere. Seemingly, the cakes & nicely-decorated cookies there are all home-made, even ice cream is. In Japan, you can't expect home-made ice cream at this type of small cafe.

Of course, I had to ask her how long the cafe has been in operation. "About 30 years" she said. " But I've just kept doing without any huge progress, so I'm not sure if this was really right", she humbly added.

Imagine, whatever business you do, maintaining it for 30 years could be such a rough ride. "The transition in this neighborhood is astonishing. It's like a whole different world", she laughed. 

"It takes about 3 or 4 hours to prepare for all the menus I'm offering, but I still do it every day, even this orange puree on top of the cake. From scratch every day!"

It was so enjoyable for me to talk with her eating this flavorful cheesecake (which reminded me of my grandma's cook!), but I didn't miss that her knife shredding some ingredients for the next day never stopped. 

This is how she has set every piece of stone to build up her own story here.

Thanks for reading.

Posted by 3e-Tokyo


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